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The Communicators

News/Business. People who shape the digital future.

NETWORK

DURATION
00:30:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
San Francisco, CA, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Channel 100 (651 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

At&t 11, Us 4, Christopher Mccabe 4, Paul Kirby 3, Sec 3, Verizon 3, United States 3, U.s. 2, Matt Wood 2, Cti 2, Cta 2, Backhaul 1, Grand Rapids 1, Swarthmore 1, Mich. 1, Texting 1, Billerica 1, California 1, Butte 1, Elizabeth Anne Ford 1,
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  CSPAN    The Communicators    News/Business. People who  
   shape the digital future.  

    July 9, 2011
    6:30 - 7:00pm EDT  

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i have one just like him at home. [laughter] [applause] immediately, i felt very comfortable with her and then i had up to that point. we got on there -- we got off on the right foot and had a great time talking about our families. somehow,ys felt that things happen to me that never happened to any other first lady. all of us have had -- i did a few things that no other first lady had done. i had to address each new episode in my life in my own way.
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i had never planned on such a role. after a few -- they decided they liked my openness. some of you may remember that just short-lived after we moved into the white house, i entered the hospital for a mastectomy. it was just six days after jerry had been sworn into office. i was terribly frightened about having breast cancer, of course. the only way i could handle it was to be totally open and honest with the public. women did not usually talk about mastectomies or breast cancer at that time. it was kind of behind the closed door.
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by speaking out about it, it eliminated any speculation about why i was going to be in the hospital for some time, but it had a much greater impact. that benefit was it got hundreds of thousands of women to their doctors and to clinics for breast exams. suddenly, that there was an awareness and women felt it the first lady can have breast cancer, and anyone of us could. i've always been proud that that the frank discussion helped save the lives of women who received treatment before it was too late. i still work with my daughter susan in the field of trying to inform people about prevention, such as the importance of monthly self exams and mammograms and once a year and physical exams would your own
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professional position. now i spend even more time where we have treated more than 30,000 individuals. women have represented at least 50% of our population and that is because of the betty ford center has a woman's name on the door. this october, we will celebrate our 15th anniversary. when i went public about the news of my breast cancer, my addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol. i am glad it had the same miraculous effect on countless individuals and families. it is very gratifying for me and our staff to know that there are many recovering people out there living happier lives,
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enjoying meaningful family relationships. i was an ordinary woman called on stage at an extraordinary time. i still feel that way. to me, those times were extraordinary. i felt very honored. i loved them all. i want to thank you for being very patient and listening to my memoirs. thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> elizabeth anne ford died friday at age of 93 in california. she will be buried alongside her husband in grand rapids, mich. the u.s. house dabbles back in monday. 2:00 p.m. for the dislike of business. the chamber began on funding yesterday and we expect to see work on amendments monday. also next week, a billerica authorizing -- a bill reauthorize sang flood insurance program and financial-services. that includes several things, including the treasury department and sec. follow the u.s. house live as always on c-span. >> this week on "the communicators," competition in the wireless industry. joining us to discuss the
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results are christopher mccabe of the wireless association and matt wood of the consumer group free press. >> the federal communications commission recently issued its congressional the mandated annual report on competition in the wireless industry. this is the 15th annual report. that is our topic this week on "the communicators." here is the conclusion of the federal communications commission. the 15th report makes no formal finding as to whether there is or is not effective competition in the industry, rather, given the complexity of the various interrelated segments and services within the mobile wireless ecosystem, the report focuses on presenting the best data available on competition throughout the sector of the economy. joining us to discuss this is matt wood out of the policy group free press. he is their policy director. and christopher mccabe of the
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wireless association. he is the vice president. gentlemen, thank you very much. matt wood, as soon as this report came out, the free press issued a statement saying that the wireless industry is not competitive. why? >> because we have got to dominant companies, verizon wireless and at&t serving more customers than anybody else. we think are too many structural barriers to entry and growth and consumer should have better access to them and we did not have the benefits because of the dominant players controlling such a large portion of the street. >> matt wood, what the think of the fact the fcc did not take a position on competition? >> there is enough evidence that the industry is not competitive. the fcc did a good job presenting all of the complex data.
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it points to a single conclusion, which is there is not an effective competition -- there is not enough effective competition and that hurts consumers because they did not have as many options as they might, especially for high-end plans for the most popular smart phones and devices out if they're funneled into one provider or other. >> we want to hear from christopher mccabe, also of the wireless industry. what is your conclusion about the wireless industry? >> not surprisingly, i disagree with matt. i think by any measure, it is competitive. if you look at the number of options that consumers have, i think the report says 90% of americans have access to five or more competitors, which does not take into consideration the numerous resellers that are out there.
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if you look at the price per minute or the average bill, the average bill is half of what it was in 1987. if you think what is being delivered to consumers, the fact that the bill has been cut in half is pretty staggering, and continues to go down every quarter, every year, no matter whether it is the bureau of labor statistics measuring or whoever. look at marketing and advertising. three of our largest providers are among the top 10 advertisers and the country. look at innovation, capital expenditures. everything suggests this is an industry that goes the battle with each other over serving consumers. we'd obviously would have liked the conclusion that it is effectively competitive, and yet we are happy the commission is looking at this wireless industry as an ecosystem. that is a term that we coined about two years ago looking at
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the wireless space. we believe is an ecosystem, growing, breeding ecosystem. -- briefing at the system. but we cannot see how one could the cta provide to the fcc for this report? conclude this is not an effectively competitive space. >> how much of the data did>> ta fair percentage of the information in the report comes from cta, and over the last 10 years the commission has used more and more of its own independent or third-party data. the majority of data that we
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provide the commission is not cpi generated, it is third-party data that we have gathered. we tend to find it and then present it to the fcc. that which comes specifically from cti is a semiannual survey we have been doing for about 20 years, submitted by our members and put through an accounting firm and aggregated and pieced together before it even makes it to cti. >> does that affect the quality of the data? >> i think a provide some valuable data and other parties to as well. we should collect more of our own data, do more of our own independent analysis and subpoena people to get the data from industry that is proprietary that is not shared. the sec does not need to put it out there. it can be kept from competitors. but the fcc needs to do a better job from gathering data and not just rely on what comes to it from third parties and analysts who may have a stake in the may have a colored
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opinion part i. >> we're pleased to be joined by paul kirby, senior editor at telecommunications reports. >> measuring concentration in the industry, it was slightly higher than it was in 2008, but nearly 700 points higher than 2003. antitrust authorities usually say 2500 is a market that is highly concentrated. is this a concern for regulators or consumers? >> you are refering to hhi, which measures concentration, not competition. when we look at hhi numbers, the report you are referencing suggests the united states has the second lowest hhi among all the developed world in terms of
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the raw numbers. i think you have to look at a market and how it is structured. this is an extremely capital intensive market. it requires capital expenditures of a significant amount each year. you see a market place in the united states that differs from those around the world for the positive in terms of how the consumers see it. our top carriers have a significant less percentage than the top carriers in every other market on the planet. if you look at it in terms of has the number increased, yes, it has, but that is a measure of concentration, not competition. at the same time that has increased, the average price and the monthly price to consumers has gone down. we look at it in the context of that is a number that is a simple calculation, although i do not quite know how the sec comes up with those numbers. i have tried myself, an
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economics degree from swarthmore, and i cannot replicate their numbers. yet in that same report they suggest it is the second lowest on the planet. >> i would agree that measures but concentration, not competition, but we're seeing less competition and carrier contact. at when one of them races their pricing packages, the others follow suit quickly and without any retribution or loss of customers because there are not a lot of options or carriers offering different priced options and plans. when one of them races there early termination fees, which lock people into contracts, the others follow suit quickly, whether on a smart phone or feature phone or some less- intensive plan. when one of them goes to a tiered pricing plan or a data use caps system, such as at&t earlier this year, the rise and
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falling, we see that follow the leader mentality where if one at carrier does it and makes money,
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>> he said one carrier raises the price of texting, but prices are not going up, they are going down. the broad band and that prices are more than half just in the last 12 months. we have had discussions, we have been on the show before, talking about the iphone and how everyone had to have the iphone. it is an iconic device, no doubt, yet we are now having discussions about how they
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address the fact that the android platform and google is taking a tremendous share of handset sales and should be people out be protected against the android platform. if you look back the past couple years, it is quickly if someone controls the market, that quickly they can lose control in this space. the greatest illustration is 2.5 years ago, the hottest selling hansa it was a flip phone from motorola razor. we have gone from the iphone to android too tablets. this is a market that moves so incredibly quickly that the issues that matter and others at the free press complained a bout a year ago have changed. >> your response? >> when you look at the fact that handsets are changing, that is not surprising.
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it also not surprising is who was controlling that. the entire value chain, the distribution chain is often controlled by the largest operators. even though the iphone is being passed up by and road, it is the same carriers, at&t and verizon. but whether it is the razor or by phone or the droid, we see a lot of repeat players in that space. the fact technology is changing is not surprising, but neither is the fact we have these players at the top of the chain controlling that pace of innovation and who has access to those devices. >> we've been talking about verizon and at&t. this report is from 2009. it what about the proposed review, the merger of at&t and t-mobile?
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>> it is still a separate entity until such time that deal goes through. we think that would be disastrous for competition because t-mobile mobile has the were priced at options. they have kept some check on the prices of at&t and verizon. not completely, but because they don't have the same types of applications as the others at the outset, but it would be the elimination of a lower-priced competitor who has been an innovator. t-mobile was the first to bring that android phoned to market and consistently offers lower prices. we think taking that away lessens the number of competitors and would be a very big disaster for competition in this space. >> is there really like my job, and so i am going to say that the merger is going to go
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through the fcc and the department of justice and i look forward to sing with the outcome is. >> why don't you just tell us what you think and not anyone else? we're discussing the recent fcc report on competition in the wireless industry. we're pleased to be joined by representatives from the wireless industry, and from the free press, a think tank policy group that looks at these telecommunications issues. matt wood is the policy director, paul kirby of telecommunications reports. next question? >> often this report does not get much attention, but because of the merger. they are considering, groups and companies who are proposed the merger say, look, they cannot determine the effective competition for the second year and a row, that shows the merger should not be approved. at&t says we think it shows how
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many carriers people have choices of. i wanted to get your views on the public's standpoint, will this report continue to be used by the two sides? >> people will continue to use it. more and partly, it is an important document that the fcc has assembled. it is the underlying issues they looked into. what is more important, the ultimate outcome is whether the fcc pushes those levers that it can to promote competition and level the playing field and make entry of growth by smaller carriers were possible and profitable. i think it is in the death of a larger problem they have. they have members on both sides of the merger, with sprint opposing the merger and pointing out what would happen if it goes through. the other issue that the fcc is weighing, the small part of the
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report that a report in terms of what the fcc can do to change the law and regulatory plainfield, like back caught and data roaming. those other kinds of places we would like more movement, and that is where we think the report could conclude there is a lack of effective competition and the barriers to competition. i think that is more to put to the merger and for the fcc overall, but cpia has members on both sides of this. they're also looking at whether the market is competitive or not or whether there are barriers to entry that. people from getting to the same level and competing with at&t and verizon and the other large carriers. >> christopher mccabe, if he could comment on this. i could not ignore some of the darkening clouds or the state of
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mobile competition. the headline for this report is that the fcc the their fines nor does not find effective competition. dig deeper and we find ongoing trends of industry consolidation. >> i think if you look at -- with all due respect to the commissioner, i think if you focus on one specific area, the hhi measured by the fcc getting higher, i think the answer is yes, and you cannot deny that. yet if you look at the other 329 pages of the document, there is an industry that is for all intents and purposes competitive. prices are going down, innovation going up. if this were a non competitive industry, why would there be $21 billion in capital expenditures in 2009 and $25 billion in 2010? why would you see prices continue to go down?
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matt talks about new entry. the measurement went from very small regional providers to fairly significant, larger providers who are working to try to get a national footprint. during the same time, clear wire jumped into the market and became a participant. cox and comcast worked to purchase spectrum. i look at this and i say all of those things suggest there is competition going on. are there barriers? certainly. one of them is it is extremely capital intensive, this market. the other is you cannot just make a decision and start. you need to specter. we have been pushing hard the last several years. it -- you need spectrum. republicans and democrats and the house and the senate all have identified the need to bring more spectrum to market.
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i agree, i would love to have an opportunity for everyone to get as much spectrum as they want and allow them all to just compete without having to worry about infrastructure. that is key from our perspective. but if you want to pick and choose and find individual statistics within this report to raise concerns, that is a possibility, but i don't think when you look at the entirety of the report there is any way to include -- to conclude there is not effective competition. >> paul kirby, next question. >> you mentioned back hall, which allows carriers to connect back to the network. that is a big concern of smaller carriers. their contention is that at&t and verizon basically have the backhaul market locked up. those big carriers say there are alternatives. the report talks about backhaul and special access and says that needs to be addressed.
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it gives a sense about that. >> we at free press and other organizations have made this case, but so have other carriers, sprint and that t- mobile before the merger. they have pointed to the very high profit margins. sprint call them obscene profits from at&t and verizon and the other major dominate wire providers. it is not that there are not other options for backhaul, but competitors are so reliant on at&t and verizon that not only have the wire lines tied but also the wireless providers and can provision what they are using to connect their powers back to the internet and the phone network. we definitely feel there are barriers there that other carriers have also pointed out and shown to be a very high
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percentage of the cost they are incurring to provide service and compete with those who control a large percentage of that special access and supply. >> chris? >> there are a couple areas that matt mentioned that we would hope butte worked out within the industry. when we look at these issues, our initial vothope is if it isn issue that to be worked out by members, we try to facilitate that and make that happen to the extent that it can. again, this is before the commission, and rightly so. it is something the commission should make a determination one way or the other as to what needs to happen. >> 300 million wireless users, the handsets available at this time in the united states, of the prime real-estate for such time in the united states, of the prime real-estate for such